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On Monday we had a day off. Sinus infections are the bane of my existence; every time I get one it lasts for weeks. For the fourth night in a row I was unable to get a good night's sleep. So first thing on Tuesday morning, I walked to the local clinic to recruit some assistance in the healing process.

I was given a nasal spray and an antibiotic, a pretty normal treatment combo for sinusitis. The size of the pills was something new. I had to break them in half to swallow them.

That evening Jameson and I went to Sawa, a Japanese restaurant down the block. It was a very cold night and I was still feeling crummy, so a bowl of genuine tonkotsu ("pork bone") ramen topped with pork, soy-pickled egg, nori, bean sprouts, corn, cabbage, bamboo, chives, and garlic oil sounded like the perfect comfort food.

Actually, I have never had "real" ramen before. It was absolutely delicious! The broth was surprisingly rich and creamy. With a little research, I discovered that it's made by boiling pork bones for fifteen hours! Wow! (CLICK HERE to see photos of the process).

On Tuesday I woke up late, feeling a little better. We took our laundry to a wash & fold place down the street, then had breakfast at a nearby diner, then returned to the apartment to relax some more. Meanwhile there was a fun PR at Grand Central Station. Many of our performers were surprised (and maybe a little creeped out) to find themselves standing next to lifesize cutouts of...themselves!!

The Naked Cowboy stopped in to give an interview on how the cold weather affects his business :D
(photos courtesy Taylor, clown and David Shipman, Ringmaster)

The next day was similar for Jameson and I...one show at night, and a day of rest beforehand. I'm sorry that we didn't do much sightseeing, but honestly it was still very cold and we were still very tired. Two of our former trumpet subs showed up to heckle us and sit on the bandstand: Harden (right) and Gorham (left) both sat behind me and watched the show. It felt like I had two goofy bodyguards :P
(photo courtesy Brett)

My sister Raven came to the show with one of her friends. This is the second time she's been to the Barclays, and once again the box office seated her in the second level. ARGH. But we managed to meet briefly outside the arena and make plans for lunch on Saturday :)

Thursday was a split day. The band's Union reps came to the first show and took us for lunch at Dinosaur BBQ afterward (yes, there's one in Brooklyn!). I've now had the "original" beef brisket sandwich in three different Dinosaur locations, and "original" means something different at each one! (Here's the Newark NJ version and the Rochester NY version). Here, it means brisket topped with onion jalapeno relish and horseradish mayo. That sure cleared my sinuses out!

As we enjoyed our delicious meal we discussed possible changes to our contract when the next negotiation period rolls around, and aired a few grievances about the last negotiation (how long it took, etc). This was my first such discussion as Union Steward, and I think it went fairly well although my own ignorance and lack of experience continues to be very frustrating. One of our reps gave me a book that's basically an instruction manual on how to be a proper steward, and I'm incredibly grateful for it. I want to be ready to represent our interests at any time.

After lunch we parted ways. I got a haircut and returned to the arena to rest. The evening show went well.

On Friday we had only one evening show, and I think a lot of us were grateful for a final restful day before plunging into the six pack weekend. Jameson and I enjoyed lunch at Burger Village. We've gone here several times over the past two weeks and have triend buffalo, elk, boar, and salmon burgers. Today I chose a black bean burger on a whole wheat bun.

Saturday, typical. Three shows, all went well. Jameson and I met Raven for lunch at Broccolino. It was REAL homemade pasta and it was delicious!! Once again we didn't have much time to really get into a conversation, but it was great to see her nonetheless.

On Sunday before the shows we packed up all of our things and made sure Kaitlin's apartment was clean and ready for her return. We dragged our stuff to the arena and got through the three shows, then managed to catch the first bus back to the train. The yard was full of snow, but we had running water and electricity, and it was good to be home. <3

(photo courtesy Chris, clown)

Brooklyn was tough. We knew it was going to be tough going in, but the extreme cold and long commute made things even more difficult. And some really awful things happened to some really great people: Lindsey the clown got punched in the face by a random stranger for no reason (it might have been a "knockout challege". She filed a police report.) And there was a water leak in Brett's train room that was so bad that the doors are warped and he's still living in a hotel :(

Still, we all made it together. And most of us are still smiling :) Next week we are in Uniondale on Long Island. The train has been parked there this whole time so it won't be a new exciting place, but the arena will be within walking distance and we'll have a fairly "normal" week compared to the last two. Yay!

Other stuff:

Video from a recent PR at Grand Central Station (CLICK HERE to view)

Train crew is bending over backwards (or forwards!) to fix the many burst water pipes on the train!
(photo courtesy Joshua)

Gemma appearing on The Today Show.
(photo courtesy Gemma)

Applesauce does it again with a beautiful night shot of the Barclays.